By The Associated Press
HONOLULU – President Barack Obama hit the town in Honolulu Wednesday night for a leisurely dinner with friends and family at one of his favorite island restaurants.
Onlookers waited patiently outside Alan Wong’s Restaurant for three hours, hoping to catch a glimpse of the president, the first lady and the rest of their party. The award-winning eatery is in the same neighborhood where Obama grew up, and the president’s motorcade passed the Honolulu apartment where he once lived with his late grandmother and the Baskin Robbins ice cream shop where he worked as a teenager.
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Wong is a favorite of the Obamas. They’ve dined at his flagship restaurant here several times, including last December, and also invited Wong to cater a luau at the White House.
The president’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and her husband joined the Obamas at dinner, along with several friends from Hawaii and Chicago who are vacationing with the president.
Obama has made few public appearances since arriving on the island of Oahu last week. He’s spent much of his time at his family’s rented oceanfront home, and at a nearby marine base where he works out, golfs and takes his family to the beach.
The president appears to be enjoying his downtime: The White House announced Wednesday that the first family is pushing their return to Washington back one day, and will now leave Hawaii late in the evening on Jan. 3. The Obamas are due back in Washington the following day.
It’s the second time the Obamas have delayed their departure. They were originally slated to leave Hawaii on New Year’s Day, but moved their return to Jan. 2 after the president delayed his arrival in here to stay in Washington while Congress wrapped up the legislative year.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton says the president is trying to squeeze in more time with his family before returning to the nation’s capital.
The delayed departure means Obama’s daughters will miss at least two days of school. Classes resume at Sidwell Friends, the private school they attend, on the 3rd.
Associated Press writer Jaymes Song contributed to this report.